Forgive and you will be forgiven. (Lk 6, 37)
1. Mind (Verstand) is the sinner and awareness (Vernunft) forgives.
1.1 Mind separates, awareness reconciles.
1.2 We cannot avoid sin and separation as long as there is a mind.
1.3 Being aware of what the mind does, i.e. observing it, however, is instant forgiveness.
1.4 The one and only sin that really exists is therefore the unobserved mind.
1.5 Unobserved, the mind makes you think that you are it. Observing it, you realize that you are the observer, i.e. awareness.
2. God is perfect in benevolence, power and awareness.
2.1. God is, in others words, all inclusive.
2.1.1 God knows no separation.
2.1.2 God is perfect in forgiveness.
2.1.3 God has always already forgiven every sin from the very beginning ("the original sin").
188.8.131.52 God must not be feared.
184.108.40.206 There is no need to expect any punishment for sins.
220.127.116.11 God cannot be tricked.
18.104.22.168 It is useless to try to hide sins.
22.214.171.124 There is no sin "against God".
126.96.36.199 Any struggle and guilt about about sins is unnecessary.
188.8.131.52 God is fine.
184.108.40.206 God has in a way nothing to do with it all and has always and eternally already done his job.
220.127.116.11 God cannot be pleased.
18.104.22.168 Attempts to undo sins by mere worship and ritual are useless.
2.3 What applies to God, in relative terms also applies to others.
2.3.1 The more benevolent, powerful and aware, i.e. the more forgiving they are, the less will they be pleased and hurt, the less can we trick or must we fear them.
2.3.2 If their state of mind depends on their relative degree of forgiveness, it cannot depend on ours. And vice versa.
22.214.171.124 If they are pleased or hurt, can be tricked or produce fear, that is their problem, not ours.
126.96.36.199 If we feel guilty towards or fear punishment from them, if we try to hide or undo what we have done to them, that is our problem, not theirs.
3. Whatever we do, we do it to ourselves.
3.1 And that's what really hurts. (Radiohead, Just)
3.2 We and we alone can therefore undo it.
3.3 No outside party must be blamed for sins or begged for forgiveness.
3.3.1 As long as we are not ready to accept complete responsibility for everything that happens to us, in us and from us, i.e. for sins, nothing will change, i.e there will be no forgiveness.
3.3.2 "Forgive and you will be forgiven" does not mean that if we forgive others, they will forgive us. It means that if we do not take the first step in truly forgiving ourselves, we are not capable of God's or others forgiveness.
3.4 We sin ourselves ('til we realize it and then) we forgive ourselves.
4. Human existence is a self-referential learning excercise of sinning and forgiving.
4.1 God, however, is not the teacher.
4.2 Sin is the teacher.
4.3 Forgiveness is the lesson.
4.4 Learning it, we realize that we are God's children and abide in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are the poor in mind, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. (Mt 5, 3)
The word 'sin' has been misused at least as much as the word 'God' and both are therefore bound to great misunderstanding and resentment. Sin means nothing else than separation. And this is equivalent to insatisfactoriness, unhappiness, karma, delusion, lack of love, unconsciousness and so on. Sin is simply one expression for "the problem" of humankind which is somehow being identified and aimed at in every tradition or system of thought.
Sin is separation from God. And what is God? God is nothing else than the whole. God is everythingness. And if the parts forget the whole, they are bound to be unhappy. That's sin. It's as easy as that. Further associations with sin like guilt, punishment, worthlessness and so on are ultimatelly useless and mere creations of the mind to increase the sense of separateness and produce fear of the whole.
The mind actually creates separation and problems in all of its activities like identifying, judging, wanting, not wanting and all of their different appearances in thought emotion and action. We tend not to see these as separative and problematic, because the mind at same time tries to make the separation invisible. It proclaims one of the separated sides as the true one, making us think that identifying as this and not that, seeing this as good and that as bad, wanting this and not that is in itself completely fulfilling. It always wants to sell us part as already whole. It thus offers instant pseudo-forgiveness for the sin it constantly produces.
Even intellectual or emotional forgiveness, i.e. thinking or feeling that something is alright, is still within the realm of mind as it does only cover the separation with others instead of undoing it. The mind is altogether extremely clever and tricky. We do constantly buy into this tricks because its main trick is that, not knowing the mind, we think we are the mind! Thus we think we have all sorts of problems. The only problem, however, is the mind itself, or to be precise the unobserved mind.
Whenever you are unhappy to whatever degree, that's because you have sinned or in other words you don't know who you are. Being identified with the mind, you consider yourself to be a separate and permanent particle in opposition against other separate and permanent particles who fight for their own separateness and permanence. However obvious or deep down in our psyche we all do so. And thus we are all sinners. To a great extent life seems to be a training in separation. We feel we would loose something when being mere parts of a whole. The idea is like a threat to the mind and frightening because the whole is a hole to it in which it imagines to disappear.
Imagine the waves in the ocean considering themselves to be permanent. And separate from the ocean! How strange! How ridiculous! But that's the human condition. We cannot see the forest due to all the trees.
(Two fish meet, one asks 'How's the water today?', the other one replies 'What the hell is water?'. We do not see awareness because awareness is everywhere.)
All human actions are attempts to undo this very pain of separation. And they are all bound to fail as long as they only make use of other separate parts as surrogates for wholeness and fulfilment. The mind leaves us ever unsatisfied. We expect fulfilment from sensual pleasures, emotional involvement, fight, possession, success, theories and arguments and so on. But it never lasts. Particularity never adds up to wholeness. After the initial fascination is over we merely find ourselves with an increased sense of separateness and thus wanting more. The mind cannot forgive itself.
So what to do?
All we gotta do and all we can do is be aware of the mind and its tricks. This means firstly to slowly unlearn our whole life's lesson to identify with the mind to at least the degree that we can sometimes see a difference between mind and awareness. This is at best done by neutrally and acceptingly watching the mind's activities like identifying, judging, wanting and not wanting and so on. Just start with recognizing every like and dislike that appears as thought emotion or reaction. That's enough to watch for a long time! And most important: Watch the mind activities as if they were someone else's! Do not identify with it, judge it or want it to be different yourself! Let it do whatever it wants to do, but don't give in to its tricks.
Do not resist evil. (Mt 5, 39)
For evil is resistance itself. Acknowledging sin is wise, making a problem out of it is foolish. Awareness knows no problems, that's why it is forgiveness. Don't be the sinner, be the forgiver! The mind does it's job and you do yours. Don't mistake the weather for the sky of your Being. Abide where there is no abiding.
This seems very difficult to me. Do I really need to do that?
This is by no means an easy job to do, but honestly: It is the only way out! If you don't believe that or not even know why you would want a way out, don't worry, you are simply as identified with your mind as almost anyone else. ;) This sounds very strange to your mind, but: However long it might take, finally everyone will have to do this. It's just a question of the amount of suffering respectively sin. Noone can procrastinate forever. And hardly anyone I know has started doing this for any other reason than the unbearableness of the amount of suffering. Suffering is the best teacher! No sin, no forgiveness!
Are there not any more hints on how to do this strange task of being aware of the mind? I don't even understand the difference between mind and awareness.
Being beyond the mind, awareness is also beyond words. It is not a thing. Speaking of it, is mostly paradoxical. We can try to point to it by saying things like: It is that witnessing presence 'in which' all the mind and world activity appears. It is not hidden, it is always there, it is to 100% just that which is aware of these words right now! If you do not get this, that's because you think you are your mind. Do not try to understand it for trying to understand is a mind activity. The mind does not know awareness, it cannot know it, it is afraid of it and it tries to hide from it, just as the sinner is afraid of God and tries to hide. You can only realize who you are and always have been by going beyond the mind. There is no recipe for this and the mind will do everything it can to prevent this from happening. The best thing to do is therefore not to try to see awareness directly, but just to be aware of the mind activities as mentioned above. You might once in a while want to raise the question: Who is aware? But do not try to answer it! All this answers will again only come from the mind. This question has no answer. And this is in a way the answer. But these words are again misleading. That's why Zen says: Go, see yourself!
I recently wrote a long entry on how to be aware of the mind, but my diary app swallowed it together with all other entries since October last year! Hope I can fix it someday ... But generally I regard the teachings of e.g. Eckhart Tolle, Jiddu Krishnamurti and Anthony De Mello as very helpful. Practically the teacher Ashin Tejaniya of the centre I have stayed at the past four month has influenced me also a lot. There's free online stuff of all of them.
Why do you introduce this concepts of sin, forgiveness and God at all, if you finally just explain everything in much less controversial terms?
No reason. And no need to stick to any terms. I just found it very tempting to make sense of notions that have so deeply influenced most of us since our early childhood, but have become very empty and meaningless. Being frozen in tradition is not just being lost, it is also being preserved to be melted again in the fire of the present time, its needs and multiple opportunities to make use of any kind of wisdom from any cultural and traditional circumstance. All wisdom traditions and all religions actually share the same content and truth and this is a very interesting and reconciling thing to explore. This Christian stuff in particular is also my personal way back to the culture I grew up in, but never could make much sense of. This entry was particularily influenced by my reading of the book 'A course in miracles'.
How can you say that this is the only way? Even if the goal and the truth are the same in all wisdom traditions, the approaches still differ widely!
That's true, but finally the ways not only all merge as they are supposed to lead to the same goal. They also come from the same start. Besides the way of awareness, there is, to use common terms, the way of love and the way of energy. But all of them are aimed at overcoming the mind! When we first think of awareness, we actually think it is the mind that is being aware as one of its functions. We still seek the solition within the mind. The same with love: We think of it in terms of wanting, possessing, identifying, which is not love but mind activity. True love, however, is something much bigger than that, something beyond boundaries and therefore beyond the mind, just as awareness is. The mind is merely the tip of an iceberg if seen from beyond. And similarily for energy. Kundalini and Yoga are used to make one feel better and to have more energy in the body and mind. (Nothing wrong with that by the way.) But the Kundalini-Energy is something much stronger than that, absolutely uncontrollable and vast, like E=mc2. It is life itself. It can - and literally will - eat you up with the snip of its finger, which is to say that it will eat up your identification with your mind and body. And to finally address the question: Yes these ways are different, but at some point even before the goal they are not really different anymore. Differences are in the mind, beyond it they tend to become very vague and blurry, 'til they disappear. Loving, being aware and giving oneself to the universal life force then appear then to be just the very same thing. All of them are in a way pure surrender to and acceptance of what is here and now. And this is, to conclude, of course also what forgiveness means. All these words ...
What is the difference between God and awareness?
There is no difference! Practising awareness is really the holiest communion and truest worship of God one could imagine. And it is very simple, no church, ritual or other devices needed!